Anti-Aging & Cosmeceutical Corner
stronger than CoQ10 and other popular
antioxidants. It is said to reduce skin roughness and dryness, as well as reduce fine
lines and wrinkles.
Kinetin is a botanical growth factor
and an antioxidant. It restores skin’s barrier
function and prevents photodamage.
Lipoic acid is a unique antioxidant because it is both fat- and water-soluble and
is readily available to skin cells, where its
highly effective antioxidant properties protect from free radicals.
Lycopene is a carotenoid found in red
fruits such as tomatoes, chili peppers, watermelon, pink grapefruit, apricot and vegetables, to name a few, and is a powerful
Mangosteen is derived from fruit. It
has powerful antioxidant and chemopre-ventive benefits. It is also a natural source of
Mushroom extract contains a variety
of compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Niacinamide or nicotinamide is the
biologically active amide of vitamin B3. It
has powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory depigmenting and immunomodulant
properties. It improves the texture and tone
of the skin and reduces fine lines, wrinkles
and hyperpigmentation. It is well tolerated
on the skin.
Plant extracts, ginko biloba, green tea,
Centella asiatica, ginseng, rosemary, juniper and horse chestnut have antioxidant
Pomegranate extract is obtained from
the fruit Punica grantum. Its phenolic components have potent antioxidant activity.
Topical application of the peel extract was
shown to restore catalase, peroxidase and
superoxide dismutase enzyme activities
Pycnogenol is extracted from the
French maritime pine (Pinus pinaster). It
contains flavonoids and phenolic compounds acting both as a potent antioxidant
Quercetin is a flavonoid antioxidant
found in various fruits and vegetables. In
vitro studies show it inhibited melanoma
Resveratrol is a polyphenolic phy-toalexin compound that is found in grapes,
nuts, fruits and red wine. It sends the body
into survival mode, which could potentially
increase lifespan and help maintain youthful skin. When topically applied, resveratrol
protects against UVB-mediated oxidative
stress and skin damage.
Retinol (vitamin A) is oxidized into
retinaldehyde and then into retinoic acid,
the biologically active form of vitamin A.
As a precursor to Retin-A, retinol provides
a gentle alternative, yet with the same
long-term benefits. Two randomized, controlled trials reported significant improvement in fine wrinkles after 12 and 24
weeks of treatment.
Silymarin is derived from the milk
thistle plant, Silybum marianum. It has
strong antioxidant properties. In vivo studies have shown photoprotective effects
with topically applied silymarin prior to UV
irradiation. This property makes it a suitable
additive in sunscreen formulations.
Mechanism of Action
We all know that antioxidants are free radical scavengers. Understanding the entire
antioxidant cascade would be helpful in
understanding their skin benefits. Just
watch an apple turn brown after you have
sliced it; the free radical theory of aging is
based on a similar mechanism of oxidation.
In oxidation, there is the donation of electrons by complete transfer from one molecule (donor) to another (receptor). The
donor molecule is oxidized while the receptor is reduced.
Antioxidants are any substance that interferes with oxidation either by blocking
or by reversing the action. Free radicals, or
ROS, are believed to be responsible for
wrinkles, sagging, dryness, age spots, inflammation and skin cancer. Because they
contain an unpaired electron, they are
highly unstable and react with other molecules. It is not easy to detect the presence
of free radicals in the cell. Its half-life is
very short and can be picked out only
with sophisticated instruments rather
than a routine test. There are four types of
free radicals namely: superoxide (02),
trichloromethyl (CCL3), nitric oxide (N0),
and mercapto (RS) radicals.
Blocking the Reaction
Free radical scavengers are any substance
that terminates or blocks the free radical
chain reaction. The use of topically applied antioxidants seems promising.
Newer studies suggest that combinations
of different antioxidants seem to have
synergistic effects and hence better efficacy when compared to a single antioxidant use, as has been shown for the
combination of vitamins E and C. Antioxidants prevent and repair free radical
damage from sun and pollution. Topically
applied, they keep wrinkles, brown spots
and other signs of aging at bay. Furthermore, antioxidants reduce damage caused
by ultraviolet radiation, reduce or eliminate
erythema and reduce cell damage. They
play a role in a wide variety of actions including reducing irritation, controlling
sensitivity, stimulating collagen synthesis
and enhancing the immune system.
It is important to note, however, that
there is no assurance that the percentage
of antioxidant in a cream is high enough
to make any difference in the skin. In reality, antioxidants may be present only in
token amounts in the formula merely to
retard product degradation. Also, both vitamins C and E are very large molecules,
therefore it is difficult to get them
through the epidermis using a common
cream or lotion unless the pH and delivery system is optimized.
Consumers are aware that antioxidants are beneficial and this awareness
has grown considerably during the past
few years. New research on antioxidants
should bring to light more promising ingredients that may provide new or better
Today, cosmetic chemists have so
many antioxidant raw materials to choose
from for delivering specific end benefits
to broad range of consumers that there is
enormous opportunity for antioxidant
raw material suppliers to serve the cosmetic industry and dermatological researchers.•